learn / 2018

Every Angeleno is an all star on our team. Help HL - LA build our home field advantage!

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Activation Challenge by Harlem Lacrosse - Los Angeles

HL-LA engages families, communities, businesses, law enforcement, school partners, and athletes of all backgrounds to provide kids most at risk of dropout with personal pathways to future successes.

Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

By activating all the individuals that HL-LA’s programs touch both directly and indirectly, from students and parents to school staff and local police, neighbors and friends, corporate partners and colleges, HL-LA can drive real change in the south LA communities it serves. Increased staff at current sites and additional opportunities for current students as well as expansion programs will all increase the breadth and scope of HL-LA’s impact.

Which of the learn metrics will your activation impact?​

  • Proficiency in English and Language Arts and Math
  • Suspension and expulsion rates
  • Truancy rates in elementary and middle schools

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?

  • LA is the best place to PLAY

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • South LA

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?

  • Trainings and/or in-person engagements
  • Connect Angelenos with impactful volunteer opportunities
  • Increase donations to organizations and causes
  • Provide safe and structured athletic opportunities for students and families

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to learn?

The Harlem Lacrosse model embeds Program Directors in the schools that host our program, which allows for daily mentorship, leadership and enrichment activities, tutoring, study hall, test prep as well as lacrosse instruction and competition. Our purpose is to teach the children of South LA, Compton and Inglewood the skills that will lead to their success as students, athletes and citizens. Skills like self-control, resilience, teamwork and a growth mindset have particular importance for kids that grow up in low-income urban communities. We believe that with intentional program design and talented coaches, the sport itself and its complementary academic support provide the perfect context to teach these skills. This model transcends a typical after-school sports program by providing wrap-around programming in a safe, structured, year-round environment that is centered on immersive academic and sport-based learning. We know that the sport is naturally engaging for all kids and we are hopeful that together, with LA2050, Harlem Lacrosse — Los Angeles can continue to deepen our impact and provide the kinds of experiences that are truly life-changing to even more young people in our community, intergenerational families, and the community at large.

On HL-LA “playdays,” Enterprise Park transforms into a recreational oasis. As the buses deliver eager players ready to take part in the day’s events, parents, guardians, grandparents and siblings of all ages begin to gather in the prime shady locations on the sidelines. Volunteers from area high schools and colleges start organizing the players into age groups and teams; while the lacrosse training begins, coaches, tutors, police officers, teachers and mentors from corporate partners chat with parents about their child’s experiences, academic improvement, school choice or tutoring questions, goals, and much more. Harlem Lacrosse-LA is not just affecting its student-athletes’ lives, its impact is felt across generations and across the community. Many HL-LA parents and guardians did not attend college and rely on the advice and counseling of the HL-LA program directors, tutors and career advisors to help create an academic path to college preparedness for their children. Aside from the direct impact, HL-LA is growing alongside its members, expanding to high school programs as many students advanced to ninth grade. Many coaches and staff are themselves “graduates” of Harlem Lacrosse-LA (and its predecessor City Lacrosse), and these valuable work opportunities empower the older students to stay involved and give back.

Providing opportunities like these helps to keep HL-LA students and their families engaged in the program; these students are encouraged to improve attendance and grades, and stay in school, in order to remain as active members of the HL-LA community.

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to learn

LA will be the best place to learn when Angelenos from all backgrounds come together to support our most at-risk students. HL-LA has a wide network of partnerships, and the unique ability to bring this diverse set of partners together. They include corporate partners like Advice Period, boarding schools, the Police Department, Parks and Rec, the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Monica, ICEF and LAUSD schools, Mar Vista Gardens public housing development, foundations, college partners like USC and Whittier, as well as families and volunteers from more traditional lacrosse communities from Santa Barbara to OC.

HL-LA actively recruits students identified by school administrators as most vulnerable to academic decline and dropout. These students receive daily doses of academic and social-emotional support during study halls and meetings as well as the important lessons of commitment and teamwork during lacrosse practices and games. Using lacrosse as a hook, students earn their spot on the team through attendance, academic performance and behavior, and HL-LA students show measurable improvement in each of these areas.

Program Directors assist teachers, administrators and other school staff with behavioral and academic interventions throughout the day. PD’s also work with parents and guardians to put together a comprehensive personal path for each student, including academic assistance, additional lacrosse opportunities, high school selection, career advice and more.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.​

HL-LA will measure the success of our activation in several ways. One metric will be the increased number of followers on social media, and the new requests for newsletter and email updates. Additionally, HL-LA will measure any new volunteers and applications for jobs, specifically if LA2050 is mentioned as how they heard about the opportunities.

Most importantly, HL-LA will measure the year-to-year increase in the number of participants, community partners, families, staff and school sites, which will be evidence that the funding provided by LA2050 directly impacted the scope and delivery of programming. The LA2050 grant would allow HL-LA to offer more academic, athletic and enrichment activities to its current participants as well as reach more new members. It would also support more enrichment activities and opportunities for HL-LA students to explore new parts of their city, like a field trip to the beach or Spacex, shadowing doctors at the local hospital, watching lacrosse sticks be made at String King, learning goal setting from professionals at Advice Period, attending overnight camp at the Thacher School, receiving career advice from a mentor, or attending a USC lacrosse game. By increasing the number of these opportunities and expanding the capacity to include even more students, HL-LA can further its mission to help each student find his or her personal path to life-long success.

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

In five years, HL-LA hopes to help foster a deeply engaged community, one in which students who have been in the program for a long period of time are emerging as leaders for their younger peers. HL-LA will proudly watch as graduates achieve academic and athletic success at the high school and college level.

In five years, as a result of this activation, HL-LA will have more exposure in LA and beyond, which includes an improved ability to build relationships with even more partners across the city. As more people are aware of our work, and more partners come on board, HL-LA can continue to scale up and grow, adding more school partners and serving hundreds of additional students.

Over five years as the students progress through the HL-LA program, there will be more comprehensive high school programming, including boarding school and college application assistance, academic help in the form of tutoring and test prep, career planning and advice and the continuation of the personal pathway development that began in fifth grade.

A central goal of HL-LA is to develop a strong sense of community, and to encourage each alumni to become an active and productive member of their community who will work to make LA a better place to learn and play. As they advance through high school, students will start planning for their future, maybe as a teacher at an area school, a local business owner or community leader, with a desire to give back and create a culture of positive change.